The largest city on the south island, Christchurch was famously rocked by earthquakes between 2010 and 2012. Two years later, the city is rebuilding and re-establishing itself as a tourist hub. If you’re thinking of visiting New Zealand, Christchurch is a must.

Top 5 Places to Go in Christchurch

With an official city nickname of “The Garden City”, it is not surprising that many Christchurch attractions take place outside. From sunny days to rainy nights, here are the five spots you cannot miss in Christchurch:

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

These beautiful (and free!) gardens welcome 1.1 million visitors each year. Meander throughout the 21 hectares lying adjacent to the Avon River. Different gardens within the park include a water garden, herb garden, rose garden, fern house and rock garden.

Orana Wildlife Park

This gigantic not-for-profit wildlife park spans 80 hectares and offers a view of more than 400 animals from 70 different species. The core mission of this park is conservation.

Canterbury Museum

This museum aims to tell the stories of the Christchurch locals. This museum’s highlights include artefacts from the age of discovery in Antarctica, including an ice lab and Hallet station, as well as Maori cultural displays with tools, wakas and whaling pots.

International Antarctic Centre

For the ‘coolest’ fun in town, enjoy the shows and activities at this Antarctic attraction. With exhibits, a cafe and bar, this wildlife centre caters primarily to children. Attractions include an Antarctic snow storm, penguin feeding and Hagglund rides. General admission prices are $52 for adults, $35 for children, and $132 for families. They also offer student discounts.

Christchurch Casino

The gambler of your group will enjoy entertainment, gaming and drinks. Open 11 am to 3 am Monday through Thursday, and 24 hours during the weekend, this casino regularly has cash promotions and exciting events. However, be warned: dress codes apply here and you must be 20 or older to enter.


Christchurch has a temperate climate and is a bit colder than cities on the North Island. The temperature range looks much like southern Australia, with warmest temperatures between January and March and coolest temperatures between June and August. Average yearly highs are approximately 23 Celsius and average lows are near 11 Celsius. The country occasionally is subject to earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Travel Tips

While Christchurch is a relatively safe city, city officials do have three warnings for incoming residents:

  • Violent crime in Christchurch is rare – the government recommends exercising normal safety precautions, such as not walking down dark alleyways alone.
  • Smog is a relative problem in Christchurch, so those with pre-existing breathing conditions should remain cautious, especially during winter months.
  • The city is in an earthquake-prone area and still experiences mild aftershocks from 2010. When visiting any earthquake-prone countries, travellers should prepare by researching the best techniques for surviving earthquakes.

Although Christchurch can be a fun and exciting city, exercising precaution at all times is key. Travellers choosing Christchurch who have pre-existing asthma conditions should certainly look into asthma cover from Cover-More.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Aidan.